Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Read my User's Guide to Screenwriters

Chasing rainbows Sunday, March 29, 2015

The novel I’m currently working on has as one of its themes the point in life when a person senses that they have passed their peak: their high point of strength, beauty, power and respect from others. The best is in the past, and ahead lies only a long decline. Because I’m pursuing such thoughts I pick up passing references to the theme, and I have a memory of an article recently read (I can’t track it down) that illuminates it. The subject of the article was a poet who, having reached the age of 70 without becoming famous, wins the Pulitzer Read More

Recent Questions

Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Corina Duyn

March 27th 2015

Dear Mr. Nicholson My name is Corina Duyn. I am an artist and writer living in Ireland. I am currently working on a limited edition Artist Book with the title into the light. It consists of a series of loose A5 sheets, which will be gathered in a box. The topic is the experience of living with chronic illness. The personal, emotional, practical and social issues; learning to live well within the given challenges; the beauty and gratitude that can be found as a result of this life change. The reflections are written from my personal experience of seventeen years of living with a debilitating chronic illness. Inspired also by the writing of many others, either living with illness, or simply reflections on life in general. I would like to ask to have the permission to use the following sentence(s) 'We read to know we are not alone.' (Used in the movie Shadowlands). As an artist living with limited funds, any assistance with this project is greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged in the book. Kindest regards, Corina Duyn

William Nicholson responded:

Yes, you have my permission. No charge.

Posted by Robert Wetmore

March 22nd 2015

I just watched Shadowlands. Throughout the movie, I kept exclaiming to my wife, "This is such a well written film. I haven't heard one fake line yet!" Granted, this movie is a tear-jerker movie, but it is masterfully written. I have decided to track down all of the films you have written and watch them over the next few months. Why do you think it is that so few films have good screenplays? Is it like the limited pool of fantastic baseball players--no matter how many expansion clubs are added to the leagues, there still are just so many folks out there with the raw talent necessary to be a star? So often when I watch a well-directed movie, I still feel that the screen-play was canned, safe, cheap, fake, etc. Do you feel that way as well?

William Nicholson responded:

You'll find the films with my name on are very variable. This is because (or so I claim) the writer has no control over the away his work is translated to screen. 'Shadowlands' was rare in that Richard Attenborough shot exactly what I wrote. 'Gladiator' was also rare, because I was there on the set throughout. I'm also proud of 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom', and the film I wrote and directed, 'Firelight'. Too often good screenplays get buried in the production process. The canned, safe effect you notice comes from film producers opting for the safe option, the option that has worked before. You can't blame them, films cost a lot of money, and we screenwriters need the producers to keep making money, or we're all out of work. But it is a problem. One way out now, a way I'm taking, is to write for television. That's where the best writing is now to be found.

Read all, or submit your own...


Past and current works



Greetings cards hand-written by me that say the things you can't say, now available here.


  • The Lovers of Amerherst
  • The Society of Others
  • The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life
  • All the Hopeful Lovers
  • The Golden Hour
  • Motherland
  • Reckless


  • The Windsinger
  • Slaves of the Mastery
  • Firesong
  • Seeker
  • Jango
  • Noman
  • Rich and Mad


  • Shadowlands
  • Gladiator
  • Mandela
  • Les Miserables
  • Firelight
  • Nell
  • Sarafina
  • Elizabeth: The Golden Age


  • The Retreat from Moscow
  • Shadowlands
  • Katherine Howard